Karl Strauss Brewing Company
Active Beers: 5
Beer Ratings: 23
Beer Avg: 3.62
Taps: 10 / Bottles:
Cask: Y / Beer-to-Go: N
Ratings: 21 | Reviews: 14 | Display Reviews Only:
Reviews by PhiloPsych:
3.9/5 rDev -2.5%
vibe: 3.5 | quality: 3 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4.5 | food: 4 | $$
The Costa Mesa Karl Strauss is located across the street from South Coast Plaza, so it is in a shopping area with a lot of glitz and with a pretty snooty clientelle. The atmosphere in the restaurant is a nice break from that. The people and attitude were down to earth and casual. I ordered a six beer sampler and the "taster" size beers were much bigger than any samplers I have had anywhere else. I didn't ask, but I bet they were six ounces or more; those at most other places are 3 or 4 ounces. It was nice to be able to choose six beers as well rather than getting a standard set of six. (At other breweries I've paid about $5 for six three ouncers, here it was about $9 for six six ouncers, which is a better deal.) I had the Windansea Hefeweizen, the Amber Lager, the Trolley Red, The DAD Brown, the Barleywine, and the Oatmeal Stout. I usually like Hefeweizen, but didn't like this one. It was stonger than most, both in flavor and alcohol. The Amber was better but not great. The Red was better than the Amber, but still not great. The Barleywine was strong and sharp, but not as good as the last barleywine I had (at Pizza Port in Carlsbad).
The bartender was great (and his assistant bartender was beautiful!). There was some kind of keg tapping party going on when I got there. Apparently they made a special dry hopped keg of their IPA where they put a bunch of hops directly into the keg. The bartender brought me a taster of this creation for free (and re-filled it later--for free again). I don't usually like IPAs all that much, but this was very flavorful, very, very hoppy, darker than most IPAs and probably the best, most interesting beer I had all night. With the two extra tasters I wasn't even able to finish my brown ale and my oatmeal stout. Neither of them was fantastic, though, so I didn't mind.
I had the BBQ pork sandwich and liked it a lot. I have to say I was a bit disappointed in the beers. Several of them had a kind of dirty aftertaste that I didn't like. I'll try it again in a year or so and see how I like it then.
09-08-2006 17:33:36 | More by PhiloPsych
More User Reviews:
4/5 rDev 0%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4 | service: 4 | selection: 4 | food: 4 | $$
Took the rental out again ‘cause I could and should. Not really sure where I’ve gotten off to; could be Irvine, wait, I think it’s Costa Mesa, yes, it is. And found it stand alone off the corner of points mall shortly after opening; the valet thing kind of threw me off, as did the overly enthusiastic smiling upbeat happy girl on greeting, and the server of the same right behind her. Too chipper, too early, for my east coast cynical sensibilities, so please knock it off…
Beige walls & ceilings save that rose colored section over the bar. Panel wood floorings with tilings around the bar, slab beyond, and even some carpeted areas. Flatscreens everywhere, drop single spots & recessed others, an expansive snowflake looking piece over the bar, and growlers & six packs displayed about. Bar is a marble topped horseshoe with black strips along the way, cool & colorful, and a slate tiling base and a foot rail for where feet go. Seating for 2 dozen+ on leather stools, I survey the surroundings from there. The ends of the bar meet at a wall thru piece. Slight pieces shelved to both sides; 22’s, jarred things, and ‘Karl’ growlers above, with flatscreens & stemware dangling the undersides. Openish kitchen behind the back there to the rear.
2 double table booths behind me on the near wall; the sills lined with growlers and cool mosaic tilings above. Front corner room forward there holding booths on 3 walls and tables down the center, a dozen mix & match in all. Wood paneled walls, blinded windows with prints in between, and drop martini glass lamps. There’s a smallish party room off it with a bunch of suits doing a ‘lunch meeting’. I can see the ‘operations’ slide up on the big screen; operating a sampler, me thinks, and are you hiring? Loooong bar counter table on the other side of the bar seating a dozen or more, and another pair of double table booths beyond. Seating area behind that sectioned holding 6 booths, 3 shortys, and 3 party sized tables. A row of 4 hightops up front adjacent to the front corner brewroom behind glass, and an outside seating space runs the length of the place, holding just shy of 3 dozen tables.
Tower of 10 taps on the bend, another on the other end, and a handpump mid way, pouring nothing today (‘cause they only do cask night Thursdays, and that ain’t today). I got tasters of a few things, did a sampler of 4 of my choice, and then did another sampler of 4 to get at a few others, not that I have to explain shit to you. 10 beers on tap (Endless Summer Light, crisp & easy drinking; Woodie Gold, Noble & Saaz, spritzy, crisp, not bad, but I was hoping for a better Pils; Windansea Wheat, good cloveyness, a solid Hefe; Karl Strauss Amber, crisp, Cascade hop, toasty malt; Red Trolley Ale, a deeper red, caramel, but somewhat misses the malt for an Irish Red; Pintail Pale Ale, Cascade & Motueka from new Zealand, not too shabby; Flan-Diddly-Anders Red, um, it’s something sour, meh; Tower 10 IPA, 7%, Chinook & Cascade, pleasant; Off The Rails, 7.5%, a Double Trolley strong ale, way too boozy for me; Boardwalk Black Rye, 7%, oh fuck yeah, roasty, black IPAness, very nice). Endless Summer Light, Windansea Wheat (Hefe), Tower 10 IPA, & Boardwalk Black Rye were the best of the lot. They’ve also got the Wreck Alley Imperial Stout in 22’s only (9.5%).
Fooded with something called Piri Piri wings; done in a west African piri piri chili sauce (oh, so that’s why there’s heat), over arugula (it’s a veg-e-ta-ble), and shaved fennel (one of earth’s greatest resources). They, boneless, arrived as a mountain, stacked, which I promptly took down. It was a good easy bite and enough that I didn’t need to explore the Ahi Poke.
Server guy was helpful, knew his game, had his likes. A couple of good beers and the food was on. Comfortable enough on a I have no idea what today is, somethingday, maybe, and tunes, tunes, tunes. Cool place in a chain of events.
10-09-2012 04:25:17 | More by slander
3.8/5 rDev -5%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4 | service: 3.5 | selection: 3.5 | food: 4.5 | $$
Came to this KS for a friends 40th on April, 21st, 2012
Atm- A nice well designed well lit place. Lots of seating to accomodate large/small parties. In the corner is the smallish brewing room with glass windows for people to see. Also the bar is very large with ample TV viewing. More dark woods and industrial feel. TV's outside on the patio as well.
Quality- A pretty good overall effort on their beers. Most are brewed to accomadate the masses with lighter flavors and some base ingredients.
Service- Our server was nice enough but a little slow in his britches, took a good 5 plus minutes to get a beer and the bar was not that crowded. I ordered the Flanders and he actually asked if I knew what I was ordering. So nice to see someone keep a customer in mind.
Selection- Besides the flanders nothing really exciting on tap. Had the boardwalk Rye and their new Pintale pale, but the others were all super light or non flavor offerings. Ran out of the Wreck alley stout earlier.
Food- The party we attending was full of all the appetizers on the menu. Really flavorful and well presented. Next time I might just order them all again and call it a night.
Value- With the party being above 8 people tip was included. With that being said 3 beers and 1 snifter(23rd Anny Old Ale glass) total was $25. Not bad.
04-23-2012 22:18:17 | More by FosterJM
Karl Strauss Brewing Company in Costa Mesa, CA
90 out of 100 based on 21 ratings.